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268                             THE GAY GENIUS

to furnish drinking water for the army barracks. As military governor
he put a thousand soldiers to work, and the job was done well and
efficiently. It was said that by the time he had finished these reservoirs,
almost every section of the town could have fresh water from the lake^.

From his work on the six small reservoirs for the water supply to
the city, Su Tungpo naturally proceeded to tackle the problem of &&
main reservoir, which was West Lake. In popular imagination, Su
Tungpo still is connected with the development of West Lake into
what it has become today. West Lake gives Hangchow the name of
"Paradise on Earth", and it is as nearly perfect as anything ever
designed by man. While man developed it and built round it, man
knew where to stop and not intrude upon nature. It is nature
trimmed, but never nature disfigured. No elaborate structures. pro-
claim man's ingenuity. A magic island, throwing images of weeping
willows into the mirror of the lake surface, seems to belong there vf
nature and to have grown out of the water. The arched bridges of
the long enbankments fit in with the clouded peaks above and the
fishermen's boats below. The greenish-yellow twigs of willows sweep
the half-hidden low stone embankments, while centuries-old pagodas
breaking the skyline remind one of the monks and poets of the past.
Su Tungpo said West Lake was to Hangchow as the eyes to a beauty's
face, and I have often wondered what West Lake would be like if it
were a bare stretch of water—an eye without the graceful long eye-
brows of Su's embankment or the magic island like the light in an iris
to give it point and emphasis. For centuries, Chinese tourists haye^
flocked to Hangchow in spring, and honeymooners spend their days
boating on the lakes or fishing or walking on the willow-covered
promenades around the lake bank. The ten famous views of Hang-
chow include one on the east bank, called "Listening to the Oriole
among Willow Waves". Another place situated on an islet in the
middle of the lake, started by Su Tungpo, is called "Three Pools
Reflecting the Same Moon". Truly, there is not a nook around the
lake which does not thrill the tourist anew with a breath-taking sur-
prise, in rain or shine. Two long embankments cut across the surface
of the lake, known as the Po Embankment and the Su Embankment,
built by its two famous poets, Po Chuyi of the Tang dynasty, and Sir*
Tungpo of the Sung. The Po Embankment runs east and west near
the northern shore, while the Su Embankment, one and two-thirds
miles in length, runs north and south near the west shore. Each4 em-
bankment marks an inner lake on the shore side, while the arched
bridges on the embankment permit the boats to pass through from
the inner lakes to the main lake. These embankments, which were fifty
feet wide in Su Tungpo's time and planted with willows and sur-